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Friday, June 04, 2010


That the intellectual battle between libertarianism/traditional liberalism & traditional conservatism is over. Now for the main event - taking on the overweening state 7 its hangers on. The concept of needing ever larger government has been intellectually defeated - all that remains is the actuality.

Norman Tebbit, probably the best PM we never had & an intellectual Conservative runs a very thoughtful blog under the heading
The era of Big Government is coming to an end. But do we really know what is next?
government has grown so big – that it regulates, licenses, forbids, encourages, subsidises, taxes, moralises, employs, delivers services, on such a scale, across such a wide spectrum of society and the economy. It is really hard these days not to be told what to do, or what not to do, by some agency of the State every day of our lives. As ever, those who are sufficiently upset, dissatisfied, or feel short-changed by what government delivers to them are likely to be more vociferous than those left reasonably content.

The result is a near permanent atmosphere of dissatisfaction simply because we all feel bossed around and let down. Mr. Cameron’s plea for “a bigger society and a smaller state” is a rational, even if as yet a shapeless response to this problem.

We need to ask ourselves what are the things which a government must deliver in order for a nation to function effectively because we cannot do them for ourselves, what are the things which it may be able to deliver better than anyone else, and what it should not do.

First of all, for a nation to exist and to enjoy the benefits of its homeland territory, its government must be able to defend its borders against any unwelcome intruders. We simply cannot do that for ourselves. It is first the first duty and priority of government. Second, the government must preserve “the Queen’s Peace”. That is more than just law and order. It is the right of the subject to go about his lawful business in peace. That requires a system of criminal law and the means of enforcing it, including the judiciary and the police. Third, the government must provide a system of civil law for the settlement of disputes between individuals or groups.

From here on we begin to move from the absolutely mandatory towards the highly desirable. At the top of that list is the provision of a stable currency to be used as a medium of exchange and a store of value. Then there follows a structure of commercial law and regulation, and the provision of infrastructure, or the facilitation of that provision by others.

After those comes a long list of desirables which are increasingly not absolutely necessary for a state to exist. Indeed there was a perfectly viable state and an effective government before they began to be provided by the state.

Universal education is highly desirable, but it does not have to be provided by government. The same is true of health care. Ignorance and disease can both be threats to a society or nation. So too can be poverty and policies to reduce poverty are highly desirable too...

Smaller government has at least a chance of being better government. Bigger government is bound to be worse government.
This is a thoughtful analysis of the role of government. It differs from what he & the Thatcherites did in government. In theory they also were against big government but in practice they found expanding the central power of government the quickest way to reform, as indeed it is. However, although Thatcher ended her rule with government out of the direct ownership of industry she did not leave it severely cut back & it was free to growth, through regulatory excess, which is even more damaging than ownership because it has less responsibility. Thus under Labour it was possible for direct government to reach 53% of the economy. In his autobiography Lord Tebbit made some rather cutting remarks about the libertarian wing of the Tory party (ie Conservative student organisation of the time) not really being intellectual because their answer to every question was less government. Now he has not reversed himself on this (& indeed there are some libertarians who do feel that & I am not one) but his direction of aim is clearly much more towards a very deliberate rolling back of state power as far as it can reasonably go.

A libertarian rolling back of government has moved from a somewhat weird position to being the intellectual opposition position. Officially it is even the government position since David Cameron also says 'I'll roll back Labour's Big Brother state" but that is more a sign of the intellectual incoherence governments always have than a trustworthy commitment. Government is always a balancing act whereas it is oppositions who push ideas. In this sense Labour show no sign of becoming an opposition - the real opposition will be on the conservative back benches where both David Davis & John Redwood have been helpfully left, & in UKIP.

The other straw is UKIP. They have just announced appointing Christopher Monckton has been appointed deputy leader of UKIP. Lord Monckton is reputed to have been the backroom policy wonk who came up with the idea of selling people their council houses - the Thatcher government's most popular & socially constructive measure - so popular that all the leftist parties, who hated it at the time, now at least pretend to support it. More recently he has been one of the global leaders in fighting the catastrophic warming fraud & an exceptionally proficient speaker in the process.

This certainly makes UKIP much more than a 1 issue party. Mind you when the one issue is leaving the EU & even the BBC admit most of us do & the other parties all have deliberately lied about allowing us a referendum on the subject, that is a good issue. He is certainly the sort of technophile needed in government & a first rate intellectual mind, willing & able to speak out.

Always assuming the globe does not actually start this long promised catastrophic warming I think we can assume that UKIP will prosper with this added impetus & that parties which have spent so long enforcing ever more state parasitism on us through this lie will lose support. It is not the end of state parasitism but as El Alamien was once described "it is perhaps the end of the beginning".

Another couple of points
- In America Arthur Robinson, the eminent scientist who masterminded the Oregon Petition, in which 31,000 scientists have said that not only is catastrophic warming a fraud but that more CO2 is likely to be beneficial, has won the Republican primary in Oregon. That does not guarantee he will beat the democrat in November but he certainly has a fighting chance & enough people supported this libertarian scientist to give him the nomination.

- UKIP are handing out free memberships. Doesn't actually cost them anything since they are non-voting & only postage costs are emails but we could actually see a mass political party forming again in this country. Anyone can join. I did.

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